Summary of the View:
Jesus will literally return to the earth before (pre) the Millennium. He will usher in his rule to begin the Millennial Reign. Most often understood as a literal 1,000 years.
Premillennialist believe the covenant promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:18 have not been fulfilled, and will be accomplished during the millennium. This is the major difference between Amil and Premil theologians.
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” – Gen 15.18
The same is true for the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7.12-16).
12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” – 23 Sam. 7.12-16
Where many of the eschatological views would draw little to no distinction between Israel and the church, Dispensational Premillennialist do. Thus the time in which the unfulfilled promises to Israel will be fulfilled is during the millennium.
Scripture is classically divided into various dispensations, where God deals differently with humanity as he moves throughout the dispensations. Usually divided into 7 dispensations.
- Human Government
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Chronological View of End Times Events: (All Premillennial Views)
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- Rapture – Key components: 1 Thess. 4.13-18 – Return, Resurrection, Rapture, Reunion, Reassurance
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thess. 4.13-18
2. Tribulation – Thought to be global, not localized. Not necessarily after the rapture, but thought to begin when a treaty is signed between a group of European states and Israel. During this time, God will once again focus his work among the Jews. Described in Revelation 6-19.
3. Armageddon – Jesus returns and conquers the armies of the earth.
Variations of Pretribulationism:
- Dispensational/Pretrib: rapture before tribulation. Rev. 3.10. Church isn’t mentioned in Rev. 4-19.
- Midtrib: A distinction is made at the half way point of the tribulation. Increased tribulation the last 3.5 yrs. Tie between the 7th trumpet and last trumpet, Rev. 10.7 and 1 Cor. 15.52.
- Pre-wrath: rapture occurs just before the wrath of God is poured out, somewhere in the last 3.5 yrs of the tribulation. Matt. 24.29, 30. Tribulation cut short. Distinction between seals and trumpets in Rev. and the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God.
- Historic/Posttrib: (the oldest): rapture after the tribulation. 2 Thess. 2.1-4. The church isn’t said to be in heaven during Rev. 4-18. Designation “saints” is used in these chapters. Matt. 5.10-11; 2 Tim. 1.8; John 15.20
Three Agents of the dispensational growth spurt:
- Growth of Bible Institutes (I.e. D.L. Moody)
- Prophecy conferences (early 1900s)
- Scofield Reference Bible (used the dispensations as the framework to biblical interpretaiton)
- uses a literal, normative method of biblical interpretation. high view of scripture.
- historic premillennialism was the predominant view of the early church.
- by far the most complex.
- In the large scheme of things, it is a newer view of eschatology (dispensationalism). First expressed by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). Made popular through the Scofield Reference Bible and, in the US, the magazine published by James Inglis called Waymarks in the Wilderness, in the mid 1800s and built through the 1900s.
- Removing the church from tribulation, doesn’t ever seem to be a priority in scripture. Break from their hermeneutical strength to use Rev. 3.10.
- Unnecessary distinction between Israel and the church. Rom. 4; 9; 1 Peter 2.9
- 2nd Temple? Heb. 10.4
- If the purpose of the millennium is to fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, why are the Jews not mentioned in Rev. 20.4-6?